Former Capitals goalie Zach Borgiel earned his first NCAA win on Dec. 6. (Citizen file)

Former Capitals goalie Zach Borgiel earned his first NCAA win on Dec. 6. (Citizen file)

Former Caps making a mark in college ranks

Goalies Borgiel and Corson, D-man Mikrogiannakis finding their place

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cowichan Valley Capitals and the rest of the B.C. Hockey League have been cooling their heels for most of the season, but collegiate hockey has been able to go forward south of the border, with some former Caps players making an impact.

Zach Borgiel, Cowichan’s No. 1 goaltender in 2019-20, earned his first NCAA win in his first career start for the Merrimack Warriors on Dec. 6, making 17 saves in a 3-2 victory over the UMass Minutemen in Andover, Mass. Borgiel had made his first appearance in the Merrimack net the day before when he relieved starter Jere Huhtamaa at 14:08 of the second period. It was 1-0 when Borgiel entered that game, and he allowed one goal on 10 shots. UMass added an empty netter to finish with a 3-1 win.

Originally from Fort Gratiot, Mich., Borgiel played one season with the Caps, posting a 2.55 GAA, .923 save percentage and four shutouts as he went 26-12-4. He was also 4-1-0 in five playoff games, with a 2.62 GAA, and .925 save percentage.

Borgiel will be joined at Merrimack next year by 2019-20 Cowichan teammate Nolan Barrett, currently playing in the NAHL for the Danbury Hat Tricks, where he has two goals and 60 penalty minutes through five games.

Another standout from the 2019-20 Caps, Dimitri Mikrogiannakis, earned his first NCAA point on Dec. 11, assisting on a shorthanded goal for the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers in a 4-3 loss to the Long Island University Sharks. Through Dec. 22, Mikrogiannakis had played six games for RIT, collecting two assists. The blueliner from Aurora, Ont. played two seasons in Cowichan, totalling 112 games, 13 goals, 60 assists and 73 points in the regular season, and 17 games, one goal, nine assists and 10 points in the playoffs. He was a finalist for BCHL MVP and top defenceman honours last year.

Michael Corson, who tended goal for the Caps in 2017-18, was named Atlantic Hockey Goalie of the Week for the week ending Dec. 13. On Dec. 9, in his first start for the Niagara University Purple Eagles since transferring from the University of Denver, Corson stopped 23 of 24 shots to lead his new team to a 4-1 win over the Clarkson Golden Knights. The 21-year-old appeared in 18 games for the Capitals in the 2017-18 season and had a .909 save percentage.

The Caps’ leading goal-scorer from 2019-20 announced earlier this month that he has committed to UMass Lowell for next season. Matt Crasa, who scored 25 goals in 41 games last year and added 19 assists for 44 points is playing this season for the Fargo Force of the USHL, where he has three goals and five assists in 11 games. The product of New York City had previously committed to Sacred Heart University.

Defenceman Doug Scott, who skated for the Caps in 2018-19, also committed earlier this month to RIT, where he will play with former Cowichan teammate Mikrogiannakis. Scott played 54 games with the Caps in 2018-19, compiling four goals and eight assists, then added four points in 12 playoff games. He has found his offensive touch with the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he had 30 points in 26 games last season, and has 10 points in six contests this year, while serving as team captain.